Happy July everybody, and welcome in to episode 182 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Psalms 1-2 today and our focus is on How Can You Rejoice While Trembling With Fear? We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Vienna, Austria, Bangkok, Thailand, Bihar, India, Las Vegas, Nevada, Sacramento, California and Montgomery/Selma, Alabama (100 episodes!) Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
We open with a comment from our old friend WWH on our episode on the Great and Terrible day of the Lord:
That the Day of the LORD begins in terror and ends in glory reminds me of Amos 5, and of Joel 1 and 2. In Joel, as with Zechariah 14, the Great and Terrible day of the LORD begins with judgement and ends with mercy. In Amos 5, the prophet chastises those who long for the day of judgement, expecting their enemies to be judged, not realizing that they, themselves, will also be judged. Sobering passages: They should make us long for grace, and make us want to offer one another mercy…it’s worth noting that “Great” and “Terrible,” as used here, are not antonyms, meaning “Good” and “bad” respectively, as we would use them today. “Great” is a synonym of large, important, imposing, formidable. “Terrible” means “evoking terror.” Thus a day can be both great (huge, imposing, important) and terrible (evoking terror).
Yes and well said – a great job explaining the great and terrible aspects of the Day of the Lord, WWH.
Today we begin a new section of our reading because we are almost exactly one HALF of the way through the year! Our Old Testament readings for the first part of our year on this show were taken as a cross section of the Old Testament from Genesis – Malachi. For the last half of the year (can you believe that sometime tomorrow we will be in the latter half of 2021?!) we will be reading through Psalms and Proverbs on our Old Testament days, beginning with two chapters today. Psalms 2 ends in a most remarkable way – almost with a paradox, and very similar to yesterday’s “great and terrible.” discussion. :
Serve the Lord with reverential awe
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Pay homage to the Son or he will be angry
and you will perish in your rebellion,
for his anger may ignite at any moment.
All who take refuge in him are happy.
As a refresher, a paradox is a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true. From our human perspective, there is an aspect to the character of God, revealed here in this Psalm, that is really quite paradoxical. We see it best embodied in a passage like Romans 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. (KJV)
God is KIND and SEVERE. Severe seems like such a strange word to use of God, but it is one that almost every modern translation of the Bible uses in Romans 11:22 (the NIV uses ‘sternness’) When you think about it, there is most certainly a sternness or severity to God. As we have discussed before, Heaven is a place for perfect people and there is no entrance allowed for anybody with even a single sin. The payment for a single sin – our wages – is death. ALL have fallen short of the glory of God. Given that every single human that ever lived has fallen short of God’s standard, it is most certainly fair to say that God is, in a sense, severe or stern. But He is also abounding in merciful kindness and steadfast love. There is no human equivalent to such a person, so it can be difficult for us to understand God, but Psalms 2 helps us to know how to RESPOND to God: with joyful trembling in fear and reverential awe. How can we be joyful in our trembling fear? The joy comes because of God’s wonderful mercy, His abounding and steadfast love, and His deep GOODNESS. God is beautiful in every way conceivable – His character is overwhelmingly good. But He is also a consuming fire, and thus almost every time people encounter God or the resurrected Jesus in Scripture, they seem to experience the human equivalent of a sensory overload, and pass out onto the ground.
Let’s read our Psalms for the day.
Consider the last verse of the Psalm: His anger may ignite at any moment…all who take refuge in Him are happy. Is God Bipolar? Of course not, but these characteristics found in a human would cause us to wonder, but in God, they are not two opposite poles of a personality whereby sometimes God is kind and sometimes He is angry – God is angry all day long, in a most righteous and appropriate and holy way – against sin, so says Psalms 7:11
God is a righteous judge,
a God who displays his wrath every day.
And yet He is also, at the very same time,
I think Numbers 14:18 encapsulates it wonderfully:
‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’
So, as we have discussed many times before, the Bible shows us God who is overflowing in both justice and mercy, kindness and sternness, righteousness and steadfast love – not as opposites, but all in beautiful and good harmony.
Two reasons to rejoice at the feet of a God who is perfectly good, knows all and judges all:
Romans 5: 8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 How much more then, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.
Bible Memory verses for the month of July: 47 “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48
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